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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 04-27-12, 10:46 AM   #1
naisme
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Finding work's been difficult

I've been car free for a year now. Last summer I took off on to tour along the Mississippi, and across MO. I decided to come home when I got to KC and Joplin had been hit by the tornadoes. Since coming home it's been difficult finding work, other than part time. I get a strange look from perspective employers when I share that I am car free. "Well what are you going to do in the winter?" I'LL RIDE MY BIKE.

When did this become a problem? I am asked or told that part of the job is having reliable transportation. As far as I have experienced a bicycle is pretty reliable. I have commuted 25 miles in -5F, and had fellow employees not show up because their cars wouldn't start.

What have been your answers to this question? Is there still this idea that a bike is really "toy" and can't be depended on?

I'd like to get out of working a convenience store, it'd be nice if I the bike shop I worked at could offer more hours.
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Old 04-27-12, 12:13 PM   #2
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I don't think I've ever told a potential employer that I am car-free. I have had a few ask if I have reliable transportation, which I answer truthfully. I do have reliable transportation. I just don't bother to mention what form of transportation it is.
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Old 04-27-12, 12:22 PM   #3
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I've never had a problem with it either. For a few jobs I've worked they've wanted to know that I had a license, but never asked if I owned a car, just if I had reliable transportation. I can count on one hand the number of times my bike has let me down, and I've always had a backup plan to get to work on time. So for me the answer to reliable transportation is always yes.

On a side note it has been entertaining the looks I've gotten when working a gig that validated parking and they ask for my parking stub to validate, and I tell them I'm good I biked.
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Old 04-27-12, 12:39 PM   #4
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you should check your other thread, there's some good responses there
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Old 04-27-12, 06:07 PM   #5
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You could also add that you use public transport as a backup to your bike. That way they'll feel better about you biking in winter. Bicycle commuting with a bus backup is much, much more reliable than car commuting.
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Old 04-27-12, 06:23 PM   #6
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Remember that a bicycle is legally classified as a vehicle. So if they ask, you can say you own a reliablle vehicle.

I know what you mean about being more reliable. I have never failed to show up on time because of the weather, even when co-workers who drive are an hour late or more. I might look like a Yeti, but I'm there and on time!
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Old 04-28-12, 12:04 PM   #7
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this is simple..... when they ask you if you have a reliable means of transportation simply state "yes".
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Old 04-28-12, 06:40 PM   #8
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It's unfortunate the OP lost a job opportunity because he gave the wrong answer. Here in the New York Metro, I've been asked that question once and that was for a sales job that required me to have a car and sell their junk door to door. When I found out, I told them them if there was a way to transfer out from that position after one year. When they said no, I left the interview.
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Old 04-28-12, 09:27 PM   #9
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this is simple..... when they ask you if you have a reliable means of transportation simply state "yes".
Correct answer... I've never been asked this question. Mostly my interviewers wonder if I can sit for long hours staring into a computer screen without going any more bonkers than presently.
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Old 04-29-12, 08:46 AM   #10
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You do have reliable transportation.
It sounds to me like you would benefit from some coaching. You probably need help on your resume and interviewing skills.
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Old 04-29-12, 09:27 AM   #11
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I don't think I've ever told a potential employer that I am car-free. I have had a few ask if I have reliable transportation, which I answer truthfully. I do have reliable transportation. I just don't bother to mention what form of transportation it is.
+1 on that. It's not an issue, for me, but as you have discovered, it's an issue for many people because they don't understand. So when asked about reliable transportation, I just reply yes.

I save the questions about where to park my bike for after I am hired.

It becomes less of an issue as you become more professional and they value your skills more, though the novelty of someone riding a bike to work doesn't seem to diminish.
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I don't care if you are on a unicycle, as long as you're not using a motor to get places you get props from me. We're here to support each other. Share ideas, and motivate one another to actually keep doing it.
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Old 04-29-12, 10:35 AM   #12
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you should check your other thread, there's some good responses there
You mean the one where the OP stated that they just quit their job to go on tour? And that they are now having a hard time finding work? And that the HR types are thinking that the OP is a nut job for being a bike commuter in what is arguably one of the most hyped 'cyclist friendly communities' in the nation??

OP- if someone rolls their eyes when they find out your transportation method, just tell them that you've been doing it for a while and that your attendance hasn't suffered because of it.
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Old 04-29-12, 11:26 PM   #13
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OP- if someone rolls their eyes when they find out your transportation method, just tell them that you've been doing it for a while and that your attendance hasn't suffered because of it.
I used to work as part of a team of 4 animators. Two lived within a mile of work and drove. Two lived over 9 miles away and rode bicycles. The boss was dubious about the bicycle riders until one day.

He came into my office and asked if my driving office mate had made it in yet. I replied "No."

Then he went to the office with the other two animators. He came back to my office and told me that the other driving animator hadn't arrived either. I quipped that perhaps he should only employ bicycle riders who live far away. He never said another word about it.

Ironically, the boss has since become an avid cyclist himself and I see him raving about his rides on Linked-in. And it does say a lot about character when a person is willing to work hard consistently just to get to work.
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I don't care if you are on a unicycle, as long as you're not using a motor to get places you get props from me. We're here to support each other. Share ideas, and motivate one another to actually keep doing it.
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Old 04-30-12, 03:42 AM   #14
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As I don't think it's fair for an employer to discriminate against someone simply because they cycle to work, I'd lie through my teeth if I had to in order to get a job.
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Old 04-30-12, 10:19 AM   #15
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As I don't think it's fair for an employer to discriminate against someone simply because they cycle to work, I'd lie through my teeth if I had to in order to get a job.
The worst thing is that a lot of the jobs that require a car are entry level positions or low paying jobs in the service sector. A lot of people applying for these jobs can't afford a car even if they want one. Many of them are young people living in inner city areas that are far away from where the jobs are. Requiring a car for employment is one more strike against people who are already having a hard time making it our increasingly unfair society.
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Old 04-30-12, 03:07 PM   #16
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The worst thing is that a lot of the jobs that require a car are entry level positions or low paying jobs in the service sector. A lot of people applying for these jobs can't afford a car even if they want one. Many of them are young people living in inner city areas that are far away from where the jobs are. Requiring a car for employment is one more strike against people who are already having a hard time making it our increasingly unfair society.
I'd just say, "Yes, of course I have a car". And then, if they discovered I was cycling to work or using mass transit, I'd tell them the vehicle had given up the ghost and I didn't have the money to purchase another one.
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Old 04-30-12, 03:14 PM   #17
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http://www.highintensitybikeshop.com...16%20multi.jpg

show them picture of that and they'll never question your reliable transportation again
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Old 04-30-12, 03:15 PM   #18
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As I don't think it's fair for an employer to discriminate against someone simply because they cycle to work, I'd lie through my teeth if I had to in order to get a job.
I wouldn't...I would not want a job I had to lie for. A job interview is as much about finding out if I want to work there.
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Old 04-30-12, 03:46 PM   #19
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I wouldn't...I would not want a job I had to lie for. A job interview is as much about finding out if I want to work there.
You're fortunate that you can turn down jobs that aren't just right for you.
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Old 04-30-12, 04:01 PM   #20
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I'm not sure about fortunate...it took a lot of work.
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Old 04-30-12, 04:20 PM   #21
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I always answer the question, "Do you have reliable transportation" with a firm Yes. I never specify that that "reliable transport" is a bike. It's not important how I get to the job, as long as I get there.

But you my take my advice with a grain of salt, since I am practically unemployable.
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Old 04-30-12, 04:21 PM   #22
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I'm not sure about fortunate...it took a lot of work.
You're fortunate, and you worked hard. It's not an either/or thing. Some people work hard and get nowhere.
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Old 04-30-12, 04:26 PM   #23
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The worst thing is that a lot of the jobs that require a car are entry level positions or low paying jobs in the service sector. A lot of people applying for these jobs can't afford a car even if they want one. Many of them are young people living in inner city areas that are far away from where the jobs are. Requiring a car for employment is one more strike against people who are already having a hard time making it our increasingly unfair society.
Everything you have said, Roody. Most of the entry-level/minimum wage jobs I have applied for lately demand a car, a license, a drug test, a criminal background check, and so on. I applied for an engineer job with a large company and I did not need to submit any proof of anything, they only wanted my resume and an interview.
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Old 04-30-12, 07:53 PM   #24
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The worst thing is that a lot of the jobs that require a car are entry level positions or low paying jobs in the service sector. A lot of people applying for these jobs can't afford a car even if they want one. Many of them are young people living in inner city areas that are far away from where the jobs are. Requiring a car for employment is one more strike against people who are already having a hard time making it our increasingly unfair society.
It is sadly ironic.

I'm a tradesman, and many first year apprentice positions require a car because they are tasked with delivering parts. These jobs usually pay $15/hr or even less, I don't know how they can get people to work for them.
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Old 04-30-12, 07:55 PM   #25
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You're fortunate, and you worked hard. It's not an either/or thing. Some people work hard and get nowhere.
Sadly true. I also worked very hard in my previous career, tried to make good decisions and got nowhere, so I've seen that first hand.
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